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Day 2 - FAVW

29/11/2009

Permalink 20:37:00, by admin Email , 473 words   English (ZA)
Categories: solo, circuits & landings, cross-country, ASW 20

The day started with the usual briefing and a caution prediction of good flying weather for the day. After giving the 20 an abbreviated clean down, as it was a little (very) dusty and little (very) dirty, after having slept it's first night outside, we towed the gliders to the launch point for some soaring.

The runways were dusty, REAL dusty, and the aerotows scary, REAL scary, especially to watch. My first IMC takeoff, the day before, actually went very well and though I was cautiously confident for today's launch, I hopped aboard with with only a few nervous tingles in my stomach, perhaps too few!

Dusty take offs Part 1
Now you see it.

Dusty take offs Part 2
Now you don't.

I got horribly out of position behind the tug during the initial blind ground run and only noticed that things were some what a miss when I popped out from behind the dust well to the right of the tug. By now the 20 was almost flying and it felt like the right wing would be clear of the bushes to the right so I kept on going. Soon I was flying, but only just and decided to get back behind the tug. I can only imagine how scary it must have looked from the ground with me slowly banking to the left to get behind the tug when I was a mere 4 or 5 feet off the deck. That left wing tip must have got very close to the ground. Not my brightest day behind the stick. Never-the-less it all worked out and I got a good tow. I found a thermal pretty quickly and was at 10000 feet MSL chop chop.

Airfield far belowNow what to do with this height? My plan, before takeoff, was only to have a good look around and to stay up as long as possible without being too daring and going too far from the airfield. The thermals were working well, but it was very very bumpy and turbulent up there as I got higher and higher over the Karoo. The good weather was more towards the north east in the rough direction of De Aar, 115 km away. I managed to get to 13000 ft MSL at one point and if I was braver I would have ventured further in that direction, but I wasn't. I was also not feeling very well and was extremely flying unfit and after a measly hour's flying I was tired, nauseous and exhausted and head back home after not venturing out of gliding distance of the airfield.

The landing was lots of fun and with the runway being over 1.5 km long and the taxi way to the hangars about 3/4 the distance down that runway one can come in very high. My goal was to roll and turn off by the hangars but I missed it with a good 300m. Oh, well, perhaps next time.